It was an early start again today from Delhi, as the team headed to the train station to catch the 6.45am train from Delhi to Dehradun.
Whilst on the 6 hour journey the team reviewed the planned workshops for the staff development day we were going to deliver in SNEHA school but the bulk of the journey was spent simply engaging in conversation with other travellers and being enthralled by the sights and sounds of the different views of everyday life as we rattled through the Indian countryside heading north.
Arriving in Dehradun we were struck by the different atmosphere compared to Delhi. Everything, apart from the traffic, seemed to be more relaxed and laid back. We made our way to SNEHA school with some trepidation, hoping it would live up to our expectations as an oasis of learning within a marginalised community. We need not have worried, everything we had hoped for was surpassed. Entering the gates of SNEHA we were greeted by each pupil leaving school in their immaculate uniforms, full of joy and pride, wishing each of us a ‘good afternoon’ in perfect English, their heads held high with beaming eyes.
It was a most touching and memorable scene, knowing that for these children, they were leaving a haven to go out to face challenges of deprivation, servitude, exploitation of which we have limited experience.
Meeting for the first time, the inspirational Dr Reeta and her innovative Principal Esther, along with the SNEHA staff and pupils was a highlight that not one of us is likely to forget. SNEHA school is more than a centre of educational attainment, it is a beacon of hope for a positive future for everyone in its care and it was a humbling experience to visit here. On our journey of purpose with Saphara, we are benefiting from the mutually empowering encounters. The Principals shared with SNEHA staff the wide range of benefits for those young people who come to India with Saphara including the life–changing impact on their self–confidence, leadership skills and a sense of global citizenship. The senior leaders of SNEHA shared with us how their partnership work with Saphara has helped them all to transform the lives of the children in many ways.
These range from improving the quality of teaching and learning, the level of English spoken by the children helping them to access better jobs, the adolescent girls’ resilience personal development programme, the quality of the learning environment including the amazing new ‘Grand Stand’ structure for dining and outdoor events and the personal support given to teachers at times of difficulties in their lives.
Tomorrow we will have the opportunity to visit the districts many of the pupils come from and to meet up with them as they celebrate a Hindu Holy Day. We will also be working with the staff from SNEHA, Donk Primary and Kaplani High and look forward to learning with these inspirational teachers who are demonstrating in practical terms, the words of Gandhi, how to ‘be the change you want to see in the world’
Julie TaggartPosted in Principals Trip 2015
on Monday 16 February 2015